Thursday, January 04, 2007

Night in the woods

My first proper night out in the woods by myself, sure I've solo'd on mountains many times backpacking my way in the National parks. But this was my official first time in woods as a Bushcrafter. I was looking for a nice set of woods and I think I found it. The weather was set to be windy and rainy, I seem to have picked a fine night to do it!

Right gear wise I won't go into too much that I shall save later for a future post. I brought the basics Tarp, Bivvy bag, sleeping bag, water, food, fire making equipment of course and other items I thought I may find useful.

The site I found was very peaty so I couldn't build a fire on raw ground (underground fire risk). Luckily there were plenty of rocks near so I dug down a little and made nice rock bed for the fire. Next the tarp went up and fire wood was gathered for my dinner to be cooked on and the all important brew! Ended up just sitting the cup on the coals to heat me dinner and water, should of really made a hanger for it. (Note: If you look carefully you can just make out the cup on the left.)

The amount of firewood I actually went through was very surprising, I ended up gathering a lot more, but seen as I didn't have much main fuel near by and no axe I was limited to medium sized wood. It was enough to cook my dinner but not enough for a cup of tea, so I had to fall back on to the fuel tablets I brought as backup(Lucky) By this time I'd settled so didn't really fancy getting up again, plus it was pitch black.

The bivvy bag was out, mat inside and sleeping bag in ready, was time to write my journal. As it was dark I needed light so I thought it would be a good time to test the candle lantern. It performed brilliantly, nice warm light, subtle but enough to read and write with. And unaffected by wind and rain too. It was a bright moon at night, not quite full as yet but bright enough to throw silver light through the trees all about me. It was a very beautiful site, amazing how something so simple can stir such emotions. Just to think you'd never see any sights like this in the urban environment, the sky is normally bleached out by city lights. I think you lose a lot with when nature is pushed far away and excluded.

By this time the fire was out and smouldering, and I was happily writing away, it was getting cold and the temperature was dropping, wind started blowing too..was that movement? I decided to get the fire going again. After collecting what I needed I had a nice fire burning and it made a vast improvement to my morale. Amazing how fire can do this. The only fault I could find was that it was very smoky, as most of the wood I found was damp on the outside so I ended up smelling smoky. I shoved the rest of the wood I gathered on and climbed into my bag to sleep.

I slept well, it did rain but all I heard was the gentle pitter-patter on my tarp, I was glad I'd brought it instead of just bivvying. When I woke I reluctantly got out of my warm bag and got the stove running for a nice brew.

It was now time to go. Up came the rocks and I watered down the fire just to be safe. Next I made sure there was no trace of be ever being there, did my second litter sweep just in case I missed anything and walk out back to civilization. I was happy. Wondering when and where my next adventure would be.

What did I learn and what would I do differently?
Well I'd cut a lot more firewood, bring an Axe (which I haven't got yet) and I'd like to finish the stay without smelling like a smoked haddock! Perhaps a book to read and relax with? Oh and make the effort to make a pot hanger for me fire. That little extra effort would really be worth it.

Anyway, next up will be the gear I brought.



torjusgaaren said...

Great story!

Sounds like you had a fantastic time. About what to bring next time. I have tried bringing books many times, but I never get by reading them. Crafts is my camp-passtime.

ferrol said...

Yer it was great, gonna do it again of course! Am currently carving a spoon for myself, but that will go in a future post. shhh!